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Thursday, 26 June 1941

Senator CAMERON - What did Western Australia get out of it?

Senator COLLINGS - That is the point. Let me state briefly what happened in Brisbane when the Cabinet met there. On arrival in that city, publicity officers surrounded Ministers with a halo of glory. However, Cabinet met for only a few hours, and then announced that certain things would be done to tlie direct nd vantage of Queensland. But those decisions had 'been decided upon before Cabinet went to Brisbane. The practice of holding Cabinet meetings in the various capital cities is entirely wrong. Pt amounts to sabotaging the National Capital, and is also an insult to the intelligence- of the electors of the State in whose capital city the Cabinet meeting, is held.

On every side in Canberra one notices congestion. Ever since I have been a member of the Senate, there has been a waiting list of 400 applicants for homes. Certainly, the Government is building houses, but the fact remains that the waiting list is never reduced j simply because this job is not being done efficiently. Whenever, this matter was raised in the past, the Government excused its failure to deal effectively with it by saying that sufficient money was not available. That fallacy, however, cannot be exploited io-day ; we know now that the Government can get sufficient money for that purpose.

I also protest very definitely against the continued encroachment upon the accommodation provided for honorable members in Parliament House. It is an insult to every member of Parliament, and particularly to senators, that Parliament House is increasingly becoming a. secretariat. I again remind, the Government that, as from the 1st July next, it will not be able to ignore our protest in matters of this kind. When the numerical strength of the Opposition in this chamber is increased as from that date, we .shall .bo able to ;insist that Parliament House be preserved for the use and: work of members of Parliament, which is the specific object for which it was built.

I ask the Leader of the Senate to make available to each honorable senator a copy of the statement which he made to-night dealing. with the new ministerial appointments and ministerial representation in this chamber.

I revert to the thought to which I was giving expression before the suspension of -the sitting. At the moment we have to be properly realistic and have to bend our efforts to the Avar with the hope and. prayer that it will end in our victory, but I stress again that the Avar will have been entirely futile if out of the ruins Ave are not able to build a better world. The working class, of which we on this side of the chamber are members and representatives, has more to lose than -any other section of tha community if this war does not, end in our victory. 'For the last i>0 years, at least, the working class has been developing in this country a standard of living which is. probably bettor than that in any other country, but Ave have not come .measurable distance of what Ave believe to be our just rights as members of a civilized community. Not only have Ave standards to preserve, but also Ave hops that, as the years pass, Ave shall be able to improve those standards and bring, a better life to everybody. If the Avar be lost by us, we shall have lost that opportunity. Regardless of nationality, political views and religious beliefs,

Ave must band together to seize the opportunity that to-day presents to institute a new social order. To-day is the only time; yesterday ┬╗has passed, and. tomorrow may never come. The truly great is he who -works each day to make a better to-morrow. That is not something said merely, for effect; it is a statement which I should like to make with the same fervour as I am using now if it were the last speech I had the opportunity to make. I enjoin all honorable senators, especially those opposite, to bear in mind AA-hat I have said and to remember that it is the duty of everybody each day to contribute towards the establishment, after this world tragedy has passed, of a new order in which there will be no unemployment, no poverty, no slums, and none of those things which disgrace our civilization to-day. The new order will come, not by chance, but as the result of the active participation in its establishment of every one of goodwill in the community.

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